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She’s the talk of the town after an incredible Cheltenham Festival that saw her become the first female jockey to bag the Top Jockey gong – and Rachael Blackmore will no doubt be hoping to add the Grand National to her growing list of honours.
The County Tipperary native has twice ridden in the Aintree extravaganza. She failed to finish in 2018 when falling at the 15th fence on Alpha Des Obeaux but completed the course a year later when coming home 10th on Valseur Lido
A female jockey has never won the Grand National – Katie Walsh came closest on Seabass in 2012 – so history-maker Blackmore will no doubt be hoping to make her mark in this year’s renewal.
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Blackmore had the choice of three Henry de Bromhead-trained runners after the final declarations for the 2021 Grand National were announced, and she eventually overlooked Chris’s Dream and Balko des Flos in favour of Minella Times.
The eight-year-old’s odds for the big race have tumbled off the back of the booking, despite the fact Minella Times has never won over 3m in his career. On the plus side, he has never finished outside the top two in four starts with Blackmore in the saddle.
Minella Times kicked off this season with an impressive win at Listowel over 2m6f in September, beating Beyond The Law by half a length, before a 93-day break away from the track.
He finished second behind Castlebawn West on his reappearance at Leopardstown’s Dublin Racing Festival, staying on well in the 3m Paddy Power Chase.
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And that performance was backed up by a close-up second to Off You Go at the same course in February, this time over 2m5½f.
It remains to be seen if Blackmore’s mount – who will carry 10st3lbs off a rating of 146 – will take to the Aintree fences or get the trip around the Merseyside track, but support in the market suggests punters are confident.
And Blackmore herself is happy with her choice of Minella Times, saying: “He’s a very solid type of horse.
“His last two runs, he’s been second in two very competitive handicaps.
“He jumps really well and I think he should really enjoy these fences – he jumps from fence to fence.”
When asked about the step up in trip Minella Times will have to cope with at Aintree, Blackmore said: “He relaxes during his races, so you’d be hoping that would help him to see it out.
“I’m really looking forward to riding him.”
What’s the latest betting for the 2021 Grand National?
The remainder of the declared runners are priced at 12/1 or bigger.
FULL MARKET: PADDY POWER’S LATEST GRAND NATIONAL ODDS
When is the 2021 Grand National?
Last year’s Grand National at Aintree Racecourse was cancelled because of UK Government restrictions imposed as a result of the coronavirus outbreak. That means the steeplechase will be run for the first time in two years on Saturday April 10. Tiger Roll, the winner of the last two renewals, was withdrawn at the first round of scratchings because connections disagreed with his rating of 166 (11st 9lb).
FULL PREVIEW: 2021 GRAND NATIONAL DATE AND START TIME
*All prices are bang up to date with our snazzy widget, while in-copy odds are accurate at time of publication but subject to change
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